Relay For Life of Catawba Valley’s second event of the summer is scheduled August 20. The event is called Back to Grassroots for a CURE! This event will be held at the J.E Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir at 7pm. We are excited to feature one of the top bluegrass award winning bands that heralds from NC’s Haywood county.Relay For Life’s Back To Grassroots

Balsam Range is the 2014 & 2018 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year. The band has also received “Album of the Year” (twice), “Song of the Year” (twice) “Vocal Group of the Year” (twice), “Male Vocalist of the Year” (Buddy Melton, twice) and “Bass Player of the Year” (Tim Surrett, twice). They have had audiences spellbound while headlining major festivals coast-to-coast such as MerleFest headliner for 2018 and 2021 and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry! They have 13 IBMA awards and 8 award winning albums with 2 recorded with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble! The band currently holds the #1 Bluegrass song “Richest Man” for 2020 on the Bluegrass Today Airplay chart. The quintet has been together since forming in 2007 and calls NC’s Haywood County their home. The name Balsam Range derived from a nearly mountain range called Balsam Range. The band hosts a Art of Music Festival each year at Lake Junaluska, NC, the first weekend in December, which brings in top bluegrass bands and holds a weekend of music workshops.

MARC PRUETT their Banjo player has played with notables and performing onstage with some of the pillars of bluegrass music (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, among countless others), and his tenure with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, which yielded a Grammy Award in 1998 for “Best Bluegrass Album” (for Skaggs’ record “Bluegrass Rules!”).

TIM SURRETT the bass player is a Southern gospel singer of renown. Before his current role in the Balsam Range bluegrass band, he was best known for his decade with the Kingsmen Quartet, with whom he sang lead and baritone.

CALEB SMITH when not performing or songwriting you will find him at his guitar building shop where he has made hundreds of guitars including for great players, Griff Martin, Bryan Sutton and Trey Hensley. And he’s made four for the Zac Brown Band. His name has become famous in the guitar industry and in Nashville.

DARREN NICHOLSON grew up in a musical family that led him to play many times on the Grand Ole Opry stage. The mandolinist player Darren has recorded or performed on stage with Bobby Osborne, Buck White, Tony Rice, Alison Krauss, Dan Tyminski, Claire Lynch, Vince Gill, and Bela Fleck.

BUDDY MELTON after graduating from Western Carolina University got serious with his fiddle playing. He took up songwriting and is the bands lead singer. Buddy is the bands leader and organizer. After a farming accident in 2012 Buddy Melton was hospitalized with major head trauma and it was touch and go whether he would be able to sing again but he miraculous made a recovery that even his voice was better than before the accident!!

“I grew up in Haywood county. There was always music; it was a big part of our heritage, the folk festivals ad dance festivals,” Melton said. “My family didn’t play music but I would square dance and clog and go to festivals”.

When Melton went off to college at Western Carolina University, he took an old fiddle from his parents’ wall. One of his roommates had a banjo. With little knowledge of national bluegrass, they played what they were familiar with. “It was all Western North Carolina influence. That’s true of the majority of the band, because we are from this rich area and influenced by the music here, we have an understanding and common background of heritage and upbringing.”

Balsam Range is rooted in community, family, faith and regional sounds. While some bluegrass bands often only see each other at gigs and record digitally in different states, they do it the old fashioned way. All five band members live within a 10 minutes drive to each other.

Relay For Life is thrilled to bring the multi-talented group to this area to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Our mission is to improve the rate of survival for cancer patients, to decrease the rate of cancer and to give a better quality of life for the cancer patient.

Tickets are available and seats can be reserved by ordering online: or boxoffice 828 726 2404. Tickets are $35.

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